UT Arlington men’s golf coach Stuart Deane posted an even-par 70 in Thursday’s opening round at the AT&T Byron Nelson despite finding only 8-of-18 greens in regulation at the Four Seasons Resort.
Deane, a former touring pro who qualified to play in his first PGA Tour event since 2014, finds himself in position to survive the weekend cut if he continues his current pace because of his short-game success. He rescued par eight of 10 times after missing greens, including a 4-for-4 conversion rate on sand saves. Deane also drained birdie putts at No. 7 and No. 10.
“The short game was good,” Deane said. “We missed it in the right places and they weren’t hard up-and-downs. Knowing where to miss it was a big piece of it.”
Deane acknowledged he was nervous to begin his round because “I hadn’t played in one of these in a few years.” But he calmed down after making five consecutive pars in swirling winds.
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“I got off to a nice comfortable start and only made a couple of mental mistakes,” Deane said. “All in all, it was a pretty comfortable even-par.”
Deane’s best golf came on the back nine, where he shot 34 and missed birdie putts on his final three holes.
“We just couldn’t get a (birdie) putt that was straight enough coming in,” Deane said. “A couple of curlers on 16 and 17, and one that was outside the hole at 18. They were all speed putts. If they drop in, they drop in.”
If Deane continues on a similar path Friday, he’ll likely secure a weekend tee time at the Nelson for the first time since he tied for 50th and collected $15,213 at the 2008 event.